Chiropractic is based on the fact that your body is a self-healing and self-regulating organism controlled by the brain, spinal cord and all nerves in the body.
The skull protects the delicate brain tissue and the spinal bones protect the spinal cord and nerve roots. If the nervous system is impaired, it can cause a malfunction of the tissues and organs throughout the body. This is called a Vertebral Subluxation Complex -- 'vertebral' meaning the bones of the spine, 'subluxation' meaning less than total dislocation and 'complex' meaning consisting of more than one part.
Chiropractic is the science of locating offending spinal structures, the art of reducing their impact to the nervous system, and the philosophy of all things natural.
Chiropractic restores your own inborn ability to be healthy. The cells, tissues and organs in your body are designed to resist disease and illness when the nervous system is under control. Chiropractic promotes better health by locating and removing interferences to your natural state.
A common interference to the nervous system is the 24 moving bones in the spinal column. A loss of the normal motion or bone position can impair the nervous system functionality by disrupting the transmission of controlling nerve impulses.
Since the primary focus of care is on improved nervous system function, chiropractic can have a positive effect on many health conditions not normally thought of as "back" problems.
Like other physicians, the process begins with the doctor taking a case history that will provide a background about your health, surgeries, accidents, the onset of any conditions you may have and any other details affecting your health.
After reviewing your past medical history and discussing your current conditions, a thorough chiropractic, orthopedic and neurological exam is performed, which may or may not include x-rays, to reveal any problems associated with the spine. This examination helps to identify areas of spinal malfunction resulting in nervous system deficit.
The findings will then be explained and a plan of chiropractic adjustments will be recommended. Progress is monitored through periodic follow up examinations.
Chiropractic doctors are well educated in the sciences of anatomy, physiology, neurology, pathology, biomechanics, x-ray and spinal adjusting techniques as well as other related subjects.
To graduate with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, each candidate passes the National Board Examination and then applies to test with the a governmental or professional licensing board in the state where they want to practice. Chiropractic education continues through post-graduate instruction for license renewal and to stay current with the newest scientific research.
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a force in a precise direction applied to a joint that is fixated or not moving properly. This helps the bones gradually return to a more normal position. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, nervous system function and overall improved health.
There are hundreds of ways to adjust the spine. Usually the doctor's hands deliver a brief and highly accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick whereas others provide a slow and constant pressure.
After years of training and clinical experience, chiropractors become highly skilled in the delivery of a variety of adjusting approaches.
During the initial evaluation, the physician evaluates each patient's individual spinal problem and develops a unique course of treatment.
For example, some patients that complain of headaches may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensatory reaction at the base of the skull. Another example is that of a patient who may be experiencing numbness or tingling in their fingers when the actual problem is in the neck. As each patient presents different symptoms, each visit builds on the one before and every patient's care plan is uniquely different.
Chiropractic is a natural approach to better health that is proven to be safe and effective. This conservative approach to health helps people avoid invasive procedures and addictive medications.
It is possible to turn or twist to create the popping sound like the sound that comes from a chiropractic adjustment. This manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spinal area worse.
The best way to enjoy the healthful benefits of chiropractic is to receive adjustments from a Doctor of Chiropractic. Even your doctor must seek out the services of another colleague to help restore and maintain proper spinal function.
While there aren't any shortcuts to speed your body's natural healing process, there are some steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of recovery.
Learn proper sitting and lifting methods. Some exercises may be suggested to help to retrain the muscles that support the spine.
Get proper rest and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Eat right and if you're overweight, now would be a good time to slim down and reduce unnecessary stress on the spine.
Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for Vertebral Subluxation Complex.
Later, learning to walk, ride a bike and other childhood activities can cause spinal issues. Many childhood complaints are brushed off as "growing pains" but can actually be traced to the spine. Regular chiropractic checkups can identify these problems or help avoid many of the health complaints seen in adulthood.
Health begins before birth. Children benefit from chiropractic care before they are born, by having a mother who receives prenatal chiropractic checkups. A healthy diet, exercise, a stress-free environment, and a chiropractic lifestyle help prepare for a happy, healthy baby.
The process of birth is one of the most traumatic events of our lives. Even "natural" birthing methods can stress a still-developing spine. The resulting irritation to the nervous system may be the cause of many newborn health complaints, like unexpected crying, colic, poor appetite, breathing problems and allergic reactions.
Head support, followed by crawling, and a baby's first few steps should be followed by chiropractic checkups. If neglected, the bumps and falls during this period of rapid growth may lead to serious spinal deformities later in life. This can set the stage for scoliosis, a weakened immune system response and growing pains. Additionally, as kids get older, contact sports and repeated one-sided activities can interfere with proper development during rapid stages of spinal growth.
Chiropractic adjusting techniques are modified to fit a child's weight, size and unique spinal issues. Parents often state that their children seem healthier than other kids the same age.
Many spinal issues seen in adulthood began in childhood. Proper spinal hygiene is an important key to better health.
Many chiropractic consultations are initiated because the patient thinks they have a pinched nerve.
The spine is delicate and abnormal function caused by trauma, emotional tension or chemical toxins can affect the tissues of the spinal cord and nerve roots.
Even though it is commonly associated with spine discomfort, a pinched nerve (compressive lesion) is actually rare and research suggests only 10% - 15% of spine-related problems are caused as a direct result of bone on nerve tissue. This result is usually felt as numbness, burning or "pins and needles"-type feelings.
More often, nerves are irritated (facilitative lesion). This happens when nerve tissue is scraped, rubbed or scratched by a loss of spinal curve or irritated by malfunctioning spinal joints.
Theoretically, a disc can't actually "slip."
The intervertebral disc is a pad of cartilage-type material situated between spinal bones. The discs serve as connectors, spacers and shock absorbers for the spine. A soft, jelly-like center is contained by outer layers of fibrous tissue.
Since each disc is attached to the vertebrae above and below, a disc cannot actually "slip." But injury or trauma to the spine can cause discs to bulge, herniate or tear or at worst, rupture. This is rather painful, as the soft center of the disc leaks and puts pressure on the adjacent nerve roots and the spinal cord.
While results can't be guaranteed, many patients have avoided surgery and/or dependence on pain medication by choosing chiropractic for the disc-related health issue.
Many people consult a chiropractor as they get into their later years. Chiropractic is gaining popularity among this segment of the population as a safe, natural way to be healthy without having to be concerned with the side effects of prescription drug interactions and over medicating.
Restoring spinal function can improve mobility, endurance and vitality and many patients report improvement with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the aging process.
Spinal problems that have been neglected may require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function. These long standing problems often result in muscle weakness, soft tissue damage and degenerative changes to the spine.
Some patients find that periodic chiropractic adjustments help keep them in good shape. Other patients seek chiropractic care only when they have pain that becomes unbearable. While this style of management is usually more costly and time consuming, your chiropractor is ready to help all patients regardless of their health goals.
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